Statute discriminates against women, say MPs

Kathmandu, November 30

Lawmakers, who have registered amendment proposals on the Nepal Citizenship Bill, today said discrimination against women persisted in the new constitution.

During clause-wise discussion on the bill in the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee of the House of Representatives, lawmakers said there were progressive and non-progressive parts in the constitution.

Lawmaker Rekha Sharma said the bill should follow progressive parts of the constitution while drafting the citizenship bill. She said the constitution discriminated against Nepali women by mentioning ‘male citizens and female citizens’. “There should only be Nepali citizens and foreigners mentioned in the constitution,” she said, adding that citizenship provisions should be the same for men and women.

Lawmaker Binda Pandey said the phrase ‘a baby whose father is not identified’ should be removed from the bill. “A mother should not be forced to reveal the name of her child’s father,” she said, adding that administrators should not humiliate a woman for not naming her husband.

Sharma and Pandey said women should be able to enjoy equal property rights.

Lawmaker Pabitra Niraula Kharel said the constitution should not discriminate against women. “Since a child belongs to both father and mother, s/he should be allowed to acquire citizenship through mother’s name.”